New Delhi: At a time when the UPA government is treading cautiously on the issue of the execution of death penalty awarded to Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru, Union Minister Beni Prasad Verma courted controversy on Thursday by opposing death sentence.
“Do not hang Afzal Guru but give him life imprisonment,” Beni Prasad Verma was quoted as saying by a news channel, ANI reported.
The timing of Verma’s statement is important as it comes on a day when the nation is paying homage to the martyrs of terrorist attack on Parliament. It was on this day in 2001, heavily-armed terrorists attacked the temple of democracy, killing 11 persons including five policemen.
Today, the BJP raised the issue again by giving notice for adjournment of Question Hour in the Lok Sabha to discuss delay in hanging Guru.
Interestingly, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh has said that he favoured execution of death penalty awarded to Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru.
"I am in favour of the execution of capital punishment to Afzal Guru," he said, yesterday, at his ancestral town, Raghoharh in Guna district.
He, however, said that the decision on the execution would only be taken after the disposal of Guru`s mercy plea.
Officially, the government has treated cautiously on the issue with Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde saying that he will look into Afzal Guru’s mercy plea after the Winter Session of Parliament gets over.
It is not the first time Verma has courted controversy. In October this year, Verma had triggered one by saying, "I believe Salman Khurshid could not have embezzled Rs 71 lakh. It is a very small amount for a central minister. I would have taken it seriously if the amount was Rs 71 crore."
In August he had said that he is happy with the price rise as the farmers are benefitting.